Such is the case with freeway medians off Interstate 5 heading into Ocean Beach and Point Loma.
Two local nonprofits — the Point Loma Association (PLA), made up of residents and local businesses donating and volunteering to improve the Peninsula; and the Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation (OBCDC), which is dedicated to promoting the vibrancy of that neighborhood — have teamed for years to create attractive freeway medians heading into and out of the Peninsula area.
Both groups would eventually like to see all freeway medians in the area embraced by the restoration effort.
Although not yet finished from end to end, a true success story in the joint revitalization project is demonstrated along a good portion of the large freeway median island near the Nimitz Boulevard and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard split just before the Interstate 8 East entrance.
Once a wasteland, the finished portion of the median island is now more like a park, thanks to the work of numerous community volunteers, including the late Hugh Story and the PLA and one of its members in particular, Ed Streicher.
“Right now we have a landscape company that takes care of it all,” said Robert Tripp Jackson, PLA chairman, while recently surveying the well-tended and attractive island median surrounded by palm trees and dotted with cactus and other drought-tolerant plants.
But just a couple of hundred yards away, pointed out Jackson, is another, much smaller median. This one dried out and is clearly in need of attention.
“We’re trying to get the word out that we need help with this,” said Jackson. “The PLA wants to be part of the solution to find a remedy to improve this area because it’s our gateway. The message we want to get out to folks is, ‘Let’s all pull together to try and find a solution to fix this.’”
Tom Perrotti, OBCDC president, said the island median’s restoration “is looking good,” noting 30 years ago that open space was “a sand dune.”
“Compared to what it was, it’s just spectacular,” Perotti said.
But, Perrotti said that was just phase one of the median-revitalization project, pointing out there’s much more work to be done.
“Now we’re into the second phase, doing two other smaller medians, which have fallen into a stressed situation because of the water lines, which we’re in negotiations with the city to maintain as our organization isn’t set up to do that,” he said. “Hopefully, those two medians will (one day) look as nice as the very large one.”
Concerning progress in negotiations with the city toward median maintenance, Perrotti said, “We’re in a holding pattern until we determine what the city is going to do, and that’s going to happen within the next few months.”
Meanwhile, Jackson and the PLA are forging ahead with plans to extend freeway median restoration to include all of the gateway area into Ocean Beach and Point Loma.
“With the help of [District 2 City] Councilman [Kevin] Faulconer’s office, we’re improving the medians starting at West Point Loma Boulevard going south to the Catalina Boulevard offramp,” said Jackson. “We’re hoping to start on that this year,” he said. “As money becomes available, we’re going to ultimately take that all the way down to Harbor Drive, about two miles.”
Jackson said community support is being sought for median reclamation. He noted several prominent local families have stepped forward with donations of nearly $20,000.
“It’s going to cost in the low $100,000s for the first phase,” he said. “We’re hoping to start on that this winter to catch the rains.”
Anyone interested in donating toward the freeway median-beautification project, or learning more about it, to email firstname.lastname@example.org.